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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: October ::
The Meaning of Hamlet
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.1944  Wednesday, 27 October 2004

[1]     From:   Ken Campbell <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 26 Oct 2004 10:42:37 -0700
        Subj:   RE: SHK 15.1942 The Meaning of Hamlet

[2]     From:   John Reed <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 26 Oct 2004 21:57:42 -0700
        Subj:   Re: The Meaning of Hamlet

[3]     From:   John Reed <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 26 Oct 2004 21:59:42 -0700
        Subj:   Ran


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ken Campbell <
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Date:           Tuesday, 26 Oct 2004 10:42:37 -0700
Subject: 15.1942 The Meaning of Hamlet
Comment:        RE: SHK 15.1942 The Meaning of Hamlet

I apologize to Don Bloom for offending but you took my "seems" as an
"is".  Actors, I would hope, never become didactic about their
interpretative craft.  These plays would soon become very dull to
perform if there were only 100 different ways to approach them.  I agree
that arbitrary posturing imposed on a text is arrogant, for the actors
first responsibility is to serve the play. However, I believe over the
last several postings I have made a case for an interesting through line
that pays off at the climax.  You may not like it but as an artist I
don't much care what some academic thinks of my concept before he has
seen it played.

It is Baptista's overt favoritism for Bianca and the absence of her
mother that "seems" to drive Kate mad, or not.

J. Kenneth Campbell

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Reed <
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Date:           Tuesday, 26 Oct 2004 21:57:42 -0700
Subject:        Re: The Meaning of Hamlet

Kenneth Chan wrote:

 >"What is required on the
 >spiritual path is essentially this: Each of us has to transform
 >ourselves, step by step, towards the higher spiritual ideal that each of
 >us can perceive. It is based on what we KNOW (not believe) we have to do
 >to become a better person."

This sounds like a somewhat cautious, or veiled, statement concerning a
concept that has a technical term in Christian lingo, it would be
"performance based salvation," which according to Christian thought is
characteristic of all non-Christian religions.  On the Christian side
salvation is held to be due to the grace of God.  It sounds like you are
claiming Shakespeare was himself a believer in performance based
salvation, and therefore not a Christian; I am not sure.  If it is, I
doubt that to have been the case.  Of course he might have created
characters of any persuasion.  For instance, Roy Battenhouse wrote about
"Iago's Pelagianism" in Shakespearean Tragedy (1969).  The Pelagian
heresy was, if I recall, rejected by the church because it contained
elements of performance based salvation, although someone else here more
of an expert on these subjects might be able to explain it better.

Kenneth Chan wrote:

 >"I consider Shakespeare to be a highly spiritual being because the
 >messages in his plays do not appear to be derived from a mere
 >intellectual interpretation of any particular religion's scriptural
 >doctrine. The nature of the messages strongly suggests that they are the
 >direct realizations of an advanced mystic who has actually undertaken
 >the arduous task of transforming his life and personality towards the
 >spiritual ideal."

And,

 >"The spiritual messages in Shakespeare's plays generally transcend the
 >doctrinal boundaries of the different spiritual traditions. This is what
 >prompts me to comment that Shakespeare's messages do not appear to be

 >derived purely from the intellectual interpretation of any one
 >religion's scriptural doctrine. The messages appear to be derived more
 >from the inner realization of a true mystic who has actually undertaken
 >the arduous task of transforming himself to meet the spiritual ideal."

Perhaps the plays do not contain a statement of doctrine because they
didn't have a doctrinal foundation, or because the doctrinal foundation
existed and was so well-known to the audience that it didn't have to be
stated. Also, it might be that even though the plays might not have an
intellectual interpretation of a doctrine, they still could be based on
a doctrine.  These are plays, not legal arguments or sermons.

Nowadays the main religious world view of most people, especially most
educated people, in the West, as I keep harping on, is Enlightenment
Philosophy.  Part of the attitude of EP towards other religions seems to
be that they are all about equally valid, or what is really more
probable, equally invalid.  Equally invalid in relation to itself, that
is.  So some people have the idea that other major religions are similar
in outlook at their center.  I don't believe that to be the case, and on
the contrary, the closer one approaches the heart, the doctrinal heart,
of a major religion, the more distinct they become.  So It seems to me
you are approaching Shakespeare from a Buddhist perspective that also
contains elements of Enlightenment Philosophy.  It is an interesting
approach.

But here I've just stumbled upon a passage in G.K Chesterton's book on
St. Thomas Aquinas, that runs, "The more we really appreciate the noble
revulsion and renunciation of Buddha, the more we see that
intellectually it was the converse and almost the contrary of the
salvation of the world by Christ."

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Reed <
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Date:           Tuesday, 26 Oct 2004 21:59:42 -0700
Subject:        Ran

Is anyone interested in discussing Ran in relation to King Lear?
Kenneth?  I mean we have some obvious differences: one is separated from
the other by about a thousand years in time, about 10,000 miles in
distance, plus one is a play and the other a movie, and we have brothers
instead of sisters.  But what is going on (if anything) at the heart the
stories.  Any earthquakes?

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